Ultimate Preaching Rules

I have been having a digital clear out this spring of nearly two decades of collected material. One file was labelled “Ultimate Preaching Rules”. I did not write them and have no idea where I found them, but they made me smile. I thought some others might enjoy them too:

Ultimate Preaching Rules

  1. According to your congregation, there are bad sermons and short sermons but there are no bad short sermons.
  2. A life saver mint will last 22 minutes exactly if left lying between the cheek and gum during the normal course of talking. This is a helpful hint to time your sermon. Just don’t make the mistake of putting a button in your mouth instead of a life saver before you get up to preach.
  3. It never fails that when an “Awesome Sermon” is preached, members of the congregation cannot remember the scripture citations or what the sermon was about when the service is over.
  4. When you reach a weak point in the sermon, raise the pitch and volume of your voice to compensate.
  5. Have the congregation stand for the last hymn before the message, to assure everyone starts out awake.
  6. Have a good opening. Have a good closing. The middle with take care of itself if you quote enough scripture.
  7. Every good sermon must contain two good parables and a scripture, or two good scriptures and a parable.
  8. The number of faithful tithers in a congregation and the amount in the offering plate is in direct inverse proportion to the number of sermons the pastor delivers on stewardship and tithing.
  9. The likelihood that someone will walk the isle drops by a value of 10 percent for each minute the sermon goes into overtime.
  10. The louder the congregation sings the longer the preacher should preach.
  11. It is a well kept secret among Music Ministers that the offering total goes up 5 percent each time the third verse of a hymn is skipped (so, that’s why they do that).
  12. Contributions to “special” or “dedicated” funds go up and contributions to the “general” fund go down in direct proportion to the pastor’s popularity.
  13. Almost everyone is capable of being a Pharisee from time to time.
  14. The purpose of a great sermon is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The latter is preferable to the former.
  15. No matter how hard you have studied and prayed, some sermons seem to barely get out of your mouth before they drop on the floor in front of the first pew.
  16. Whatever scripture you quote and whatever your sermon outline, remember that your verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
  17. If you wear a big shiny watch, when the congregation starts to doze off you can wake them up by catching light from the back window and reflecting it into their eyes (with a little practice). For extra amusement with some additional skill you can get an extra bounce off of bald heads.
  18. When the congregation starts to lose interest and doze off you can awaken them by saying loudly, “And Finally” or “In Conclusion.” This will only work about four times per sermon.
  19. A good sermon should NEVER generalize.
  20. No matter how hard you may try, sometimes a scripture just will not fit in the sermon you wanted to use it in.
  21. Analogies in a sermon sometimes fit like feathers on a snake.
  22. Murphy must have been a preacher, but at least he was an optimist.
  23. When you lose your place in your sermon notes, a well placed prayer can help distract the congregation and give you time to get things back on track.
  24. If you have repeated yourself more than three times in a given sermon it is time to quit.
  25. Have a good opening point. Have a good closing point. Keep the two as close together as possible.
  26. The quality of a sermon can be judged first by the number of people who walk the isle, and second by the number of people who are willing to stand in line for 15 minutes after the service to shake hands with the preacher and tell him what a great sermon he preached.
  27. You can judge the length of your sermon by the length of response from your SPOUSE to the question, “How was my sermon, honey?” Examples: “Fine” means Way too long, “It was okay” Means A bit lengthy, “It was really good this week, I gained a blessing dear!” means Just about right
  28. If you’re going to preach on Sunday morning, do not eat onions on Saturday night.
  29. Take advice from the rooster. One day, a hen expressed the ultimate ambition of her life, which was to lay an egg in the middle of a busy express way. So the rooster took her there. When they got to the edge of the road, and traffic was whizzing by, the rooster gave her this advice: “All right now! Make it quick, and lay it on the line!”
  30. You know your sermon is not connecting when the choir begins their final number and you haven’t reached your last point yet!
  31. Always remember, those nods of agreement from our silvery-haired friends may just be nods!
  32. A good sermon is similar to a good sandwich. It has two ends: the bread and lots of meat in the middle. However, unlike a sandwich, the two ends of a good sermon should be as close together as possible.

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